England’s Trish Johnson captured her 19th career victory as she edged Frenchwoman Virginie Lagoutte-Clement by a shot at the Tenerife Ladies Open.
The 44-year-old started the final round with a three shot lead and fired a final round of 70 to complete 72 holes on the Buenavista Golf course in 14 under 274.
It was Johnson’s first win since the 2007 BMW Ladies Italian Open and followed a tie for second at the previous week’s Portugal Ladies Open. It was her 16th title on the Ladies European Tour, as she also has three victories on the LPGA.
“It’s fantastic. I’d like to say I thoroughly enjoyed the day but I’ve got to be honest: I didn’t really,” said Johnson, who went out in level par 36 after two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine.
“The first five or six holes I played great tee to green but my putting was very suspect and I was just trying to trust it. Really I was pretty lucky, because the back nine: ten I played so badly, putting it out of bounds. I holed a fantastic bunker shot; (then) holed a putt from off the green on 11 for a par. I was hanging in a little bit.”
Tied for the lead with Lagoutte-Clement at the turn, Johnson slipped a stroke behind Anne-Lise Caudal after 13 holes, but regained her advantage with back to back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes.
At the par-four 16th, she hit her tee shot over a low wall, out of bounds, but the ball pitched on a footpath, bounced twice and returned over the wall.
Making the most of her good fortune, Johnson took two pars on the 16th and 17th holes and had a two stroke lead with a hole to play.
Lagoutte-Clement had a chance to tie for the lead with an eagle putt at the par-five last, but her ball slipped past the hole.
Despite hitting her tee shot into a fairway bunker, Johnson holed a six-footer for par and took the €41,250 first prize.
“They say it’s the luckiest one that wins and that was me today,” said Johnson, who earned a place at this month’s Evian Masters.
It was only her sixth start on the Tour this year, after she took the first four months of 2010 off, with tendonitis in both elbows.
“When something like that happens you always think on the bad side but in all honesty in 23 or 24 years I don’t think I’ve ever had four months off, certainly not out of choice, and perhaps it’s not a bad thing at this stage of my career to have a bit of rest,” she said.
“The arms felt pretty good today, very good, obviously, and I just keep my fingers crossed that they stay that way.”
Lagoutte-Clement shot 68 and took second place at 11 under par, with her compatriot Anne-Lise Caudal (67) a stroke back in third.
Italian Veronica Zorzi, who shared fourth place with Germany’s Anja Monke, was one of the three players to qualify for the Ricoh Women’s British Open as the leading three players not otherwise exempt for the Major Championship.
Sweden’s Nina Reis, who tied for seventh with the halfway leader Melissa Reid, also earned a place at Royal Birkdale, as did Frenchwoman Caroline Afonso, who tied for ninth with Australian Karen Lunn and Scotland’s Vikki Laing.